“Tell Mauricio Babilonia, over there in Macondo, to release the yellow butterflies,
for the war has ended.”
It seems like it was just a few days ago since I finished Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, so vivid was the book and Gabo in my memory that I was part amazed, part nostalgic that the lines were what the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) used to relay a cryptic message:
The line, a reference to Gabriel García Márquez’s foundational was a response to the public announcement that, after fifty-two years of war and four years of negotiations, the head of the Colombian delegation, Humberto de la Calle, and the chief FARC negotiator, Iván Márquez, signed the agreement at a ceremony in Havana.
I’m particularly excited about Guernica’s The Female Fighter Series which “pairs female writers with women who are fighting, or have fought, in armed resistance movements worldwide to bring to light the distinctive personalities, politics, and circumstances of participation.”
The first essay on the series features Sandra, an ex-combatant from FARC who is now being reintroduced to civilian life following the peace accords between FARC and the Colombian government. She was interviewed by the writer’s mother, who was part of Mexico’s Zapatista movement.
What follows is an enlightening conversation between two revolutionary women, as they both try to make sense of life after their time in the revolutionary front.
“Where do you plan to start?” I ask.
“I don’t know. But I will tell you this: ‘relinquishing weapons’ is only the tip of my little finger compared to everything else that has to be done, on both sides. What has to be done implies a monumental effort; a lot of work has to be done after the peace is signed.”
I came across another article which referenced the late Fidel Castro in the realm of literature. I am a big fan of the Cuban revolutionary figure, and I think that 2016 couldn’t have been any worse until news of his death. So imagine my surprise upon finding out that Castro and Gabo were pretty close, that Castro actually worked on Gabo’s manuscripts.
The Cuban president, who died on 25 November, acted as unofficial copy editor for the acclaimed novelist Gabriel García Márquez, providing line-by-line corrections for the writer after the two struck up a close friendship in the late 1970s.
I think I’ll close off 2016 by rereading One Hundred Years of Solitude, and deepen my resolve and commitment to liberation movements, one revolutionary book at a time.
Pia Cortez is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She runs a book blog called Libromance where she reviews books and publishes literary features with a queer Filipino immigrant lens. She is a contributor at Hella Pinay, an online magazine for Filipino-American women and at New Life Quarterly, a literary magazine based in Oakland, California. She is currently working on her first novel.